Enteral Feeding Formula Basics

There is a wide range of tube feeding formulas available. Formulas come in a variety of formats and packaging.

Your healthcare professional will consider your medical diagnosis, your unique nutritional requirements and your feeding schedule when recommending the best enteral formula for your condition.

What types of enteral feeding formula are there?

  • Standard Formulas (whole protein formulas)
  • Peptide Formulas (semi-elemental formulas)
  • Specialised Formulas

Standard Formulas (whole protein formulas)
A standard tube-feeding formula is a formula that is designed for adults or children who have normal digestion. Standard formulas include all of the nutrients required to maintain health. Some standard formulas can be used for both enteral feeding and as an oral supplement. They can contain added ingredients, such as fibre, for digestive health and bowel management.

Peptide Formulas (semi-elemental formulas)
Like standard formulas, peptide formulas are nutritionally complete, which means they contain all the essential nutrients needed. However, unlike standard formulas, some of the components, such as protein are "broken down" into smaller components to make them easier to digest.

Peptide formulas are easier for the digestive system to digest and absorb, making them better suited for adults and children with digestive problems, including malabsorption, short bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis and other conditions that can cause problems with absorbing nutrients.

Specialised Formulas
Specialised enteral formulas are available for adults and children with special nutritional needs, such as diabetes, kidney failure, respiratory disease, or liver disorders. The enteral formula should be selected by a doctor or a dietitian who is familiar with the various formulas.



Do not lie flat during or just after feeding. Sit or lie at least at a 45 degree angle (about the height of two pillows) during feeding and for 30 to 60 minutes after feeding to help prevent nausea or reflux.


Keep a daily diary to help your healthcare professional monitor and evaluate your progress and your concerns.


If you will be travelling away from home, leave early to allow plenty of time and bring extras of everything. Familiarise yourself with where you can get supplies or formula at your destination and find the location of the nearest hospital, in case you need it.